THE survivors of Auschwitz concentration camp remember only too well the murderous Dr. Josef Mengele; they remember him as a slender and extremely handsome young S.S. medical lieutenant, impeccably garbed, his boots polished to a high gloss, a gold rosette in his lapel. They can remember him riding a bicycle, seemingly immune to the inevitable dirt and filth, neither of which dared to stain his black uniform. He always whistled, either Mozart or Wagner, and was always pleasant, even to the scarecrow inmates of the infamous hell camp.
In his early thirties, Dr. Josef Mengele was the chief physician at Auschwitz, where the inmates called him the "Angel Of Death." Today, he is about 50 years old (and it is known that he is still alive) and, next to Martin Bormann, Hitler's Deputy, is the most wanted of all the Nazi war criminals, so wanted that the public prosecutor of Frankfort, Germany, has offered $10,000 reward for his capture—dead or alive. At least eight different police agencies are searching for him, including the Israeli agents who kidnapped the notorious Adolf Eichmann.
Unfortunates who had been "deported" to Auschwitz usually met Mengele a few minutes after they pulled into the drab barbed-wire enclosure that was the death factory's railway depot. The prisoners were lined up in columns of five and slowly marched past a "selector," who was invariably the tall Dr. Mengele.
He would stand there, usually with his hands clasped behind his back . . . his lips tightly shut, unless he was whistling.
"To the right," he would say, smiling, to a young woman or strong man. Or, "To the right"—with a wink, to perhaps a couple of adorable children and their nervous mother. Each command would be accompanied by a debonair wave of his hand. He always wore immaculate white kid gloves.
Now and then he would send a child to the left and the mother to the right. "Please, sir," the mother would say timidly, "I'm this boy's mother and would like to be with him." Dr. Mengele would smile pleasantly. "Certainly. You may go to the left with your son."
"To the Left," Meant Death
The horrible catch to all this was that 'To the left" meant almost instant death; within a few hours all those who went to the left would be gassed and cremated. "To the right" meant life—for a short time at least. For this group, Mengele selected men and women and teenagers who seemed healthy enough to work in Aus-chwitz's slave-labor factories, in its hospitals, and on its roads.
Mrs. Olga Lengyel, author of the terrifying Hitler's Ovens, watched as Dr. Mengele hovered over her son, Arvad. "This boy must be more than 12," the doctor said.
"No, he's only eleven," the mother said. She hoped that by sending her son with the younger children and old women, she would be able to spare him the rigorous labors that seemed to be the lot of any healthy person over twelve. Little did she dream of the terrible fate that awaited her boy.
"Very well, if you say so," Dr. Mengele said. "To the left with him."
Dr. Mengele played with the selections as if it were some sort of game. One woman, who knew what "To the left" really meant, began to argue when he sent her elderly father to his death. "Your father is in his seventies," the doctor pointed out cheerfully.
"Don't you think he is old enough to die? I do."
This monster also liked sinister dialogues in which only he understood the real meaning of his words. "Tell me, have you ever been on the other side?" he once asked a sick woman destined for the gas chamber.
"I don't know what you mean, sir," the woman replied.
"Don't worry," he replied with a smile. "You'll know in a few hours."
Picking the Victims
He once ordered a dozen Yugoslavian peasants to "Sing something from Wagner for me." These simple souls had never heard of Wagner, and for that they died.
At one selection, a beautiful Jewish girl caught his eye. He beckoned to the girl. "You look like an intelligent person," he told her. Then he whistled a tune. "Do you know what that's from?" he asked her.
"I think it's from Tannhauser the girl said.
"Sorry. The answer is Lohengrin, and for that mistake you go to the left."
Prisoners Fed Garbage
It was not so much a question of living at Auschwitz, but of how long one would live; thus even those who went "to the right" often died. The hard life and slop which was called "food" tended to make them frail, sickly and useless in a very short while. Sometimes the daily arrivals didn't meet Dr. Mengele's quota at the gas chambers, which forced him to raid the camp's labor force for victims.
"Get me a roster of inmates," he would tell an aide. This roster simply listed prisoners by their serial numbers. Whistling while he worked, the doctor would check off several hundred numbers. "These go to the gas chamber," he would say. He called this method of selection his "numbers game."
He would often go to the women's barracks. The women would be forced to remove their clothes and stand naked before him. Those who were sent to the left were herded, still naked and screaming, aboard trucks and driven to the gas chamber. It was that simple. "People live too long anyway," Dr. Mengele would say.
One year, on the eve of Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, Dr. Mengele cycled to the Auschwitz football field. Some 3,000 Jewish youths had been gathered for a special selection. Dr. Mengele parked his bicycle and called to a tall, teenaged boy. "You, step over here," he commanded. "Stand in front of this post." Trembling, the boy obeyed, having no choice.
The monster then ordered a nail to be driven into the post at a level slightly above the youth's head. Dr. Mengele addressed the group. "Now I want each of you to pass beneath this nail." Anyone whose hair failed to brush the nail was taken "to the left"—to his death. Shorter boys tried to stuff their shoes with stones in a desperate effort to live, but to no avail. Before they passed beneath the nail, Mengele ordered them to remove their shoes.
To say that Dr. Mengele was insane would be a gross understatement. In spite of his ruthless behavior, he considered himself a model physician and surgeon. He had received an excellent medical education, having graduated with honors. After the war he hoped to practice as a fashionable gynecologist in Berlin.
He was a good doctor. He performed childbirths at Auschwitz with the utmost care, sterilizing all his instruments and meticulously cutting the umbilical cord. Ten minutes later he would send the mother and her baby to the gas chamber! He worried constantly about the "health" of the prisoners, saw to it that every one was vaccinated for scarlet fever and typhoid. Even inmates on their way to the gas chamber were vaccinated, by order of the careful but utterly mad Dr. Mengele.
Dr. Mengele Enjoyed Killing
Jews, per se, were not his only victims. In September of 1943, four trainloads of gypsies were shipped to the death camp. They arrived in gaily-colored clothes, many of them singing and playing a weird assortment of musical instruments. "This selection I do enjoy," Dr. Mengele said to one of his aides. The majority of them were gassed.
The death rate at Auschwitz was tremendous. To make room for an influx of Hungarians, Mengele was ordered to get rid of as many Czechoslovaks as possible. He pondered the problem and finally decided that "preventive medicine" was the answer. He wrote in his official report: "The Czech section of the Auschwitz camp was liquidated this date due to the prevalence of typhus among the prisoners." He noted that the Czech population had been decreased by 12,000 "units."
Greeks and Italians Slaughtered
On another occasion, 7,000 Greek and Italian prisoners were sent to the gas chambers "to protect healthy prisoners..." And not all the corpses arrived at the crematorium gassed! Cyanide gas was expensive; human life was not. In order to save money for the Third Reich, Dr. Mengele devised new methods for mass murder. Since it was "uneconomical" to gas prisoners in quantities of 500 or less. Dr. Mengele had smaller groups killed by chloroform injections to the heart or by a bullet in the back of the neck. These shootings were carried out by a Sergeant named Mussfeld, who shot row after row of kneeling prisoners. He seldom wasted a bullet and, as he often said, was proud of his "marksmanship."
In his book, Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a Hungarian prisoner who was forced to assist Mengele, has written: "He sent millions of people to death merely because, according to German racial theory, they were inferior beings and therefore detrimental to mankind. This same criminal doctor spent long hours ... at his microscope, his disinfecting ovens, and his test tubes, or standing . . . near his dissecting table, his smock befouled with blood, his bloody hands examining and experimenting like one possessed."
The most vicious and diabolical of all was Mengele's medical experiments. Fascinated by twins, he dissected their corpses in a maniacal search for the biological secrets of multiple birth. "Eventually we, the Master Race, will be able to mass-produce our Aryan Supermen," declared the crazy Dr. Mengele.
"Scientists," he said smugly, "have always been able to study twins after they were born together. But only in the Third Reich can science examine twins who have died together."
As each new shipment arrived in Auschwitz, Dr. Mengele would isolate twins of any age from their fellow prisoners. The twins would be photographed from every angle. They would be well-treated and well-fed. Dr. Mengele would record every detail of their pasts. Then he mould dissect them, often while they were anesthetized, but still alive!
He kept his "Twins File" in bright blue covers. Once Dr. Nyiszli, his captive helper, spilled some ink on one of the folders. Dr. Mengele glared at him and snarled, "How can you be so utterly careless with these files, which I have compiled with so much love?"
Dr. Mengele also considered himself an expert gynecologist, the result being that he wanted to find out as much as possible about women. He experimented with sterilization by injecting some female prisoners with drugs that he hoped would shrivel their ovaries. He tried to destroy the ovaries with X-rays. Scores of women were horribly burned and died in agony. Those who did survive were gassed. When he wanted to do some lab work on women, he simply placed an order for "50 healthy women under age thirty" to be gassed. Their organs were removed before they were cremated.
This madman was also fascinated by pregnant women. He simply went wild with joy when a pregnant woman arrived in camp, or when one of the female prisoners turned up pregnant. He would interview the expectant mother and go over every detail of the romance which had bloomed in hell. Once he patted the belly of a seventeen-year-old expectant mother and told her. "Sorry, but you will have to die. This camp is not a maternity ward."
Writes Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, in Auschwitz: "While thousands.of human beings became corpses and then ashes and then fertilizer, this criminal doctor hunched over his microscope and devoted himself to science. His experiments and observations were carried out in an abnormal fashion. When he made transfusions, he purposely used incorrect blood types. Of course, complications followed. But Mengele had no one to account to but himself. He did whatever pleased him and conducted his experiments like a mad amateur."
Dr. Mengele also had a mistress, just as crazy and sadistic as he was. And she became even more famous than he did—because she ultimately stood trial.
Irma Grese—a sexual psychopath and sadist, became an S.S. prison guard at nineteen; by the time she was twenty-two she was in charge of 18,000 female prisoners at Auschwitz. She has earned a bloody niche in at least three histories of Nazi atrocities. Also a lot of rubbish has been written about her "breathtaking" beauty. Words such as "the personification of voluptuous perfection" have been used ... plus "lovely" and "angelic . . ." Actually, Grese was a hefty and stupid-looking blonde. Overweight, she was far from beautiful—but concentration inmates couldn't be choosy. Neither could an S.S. officer stationed at Auschwitz. This included Dr. Josef Mengele.
She was, however, even more brutal and sadistic than Dr. Mengele. The following is the testimony of a woman doctor at the camp infirmary:
"On one occasion, Irma Grese visited the infirmary where I was performing an operation on a young woman's breast. The breast had been cut open by whipping and subsequently become infected. I had no instruments whatsoever, except a common paring knife which I had to sharpen on a stone. Breast operations are extremely painful, and as there wasn't a drop of anesthetic in the mock infirmary, my patient screamed in pain throughout the operation.
"Irma Grese had been swinging her whip in her hand when she entered the room. Now she put the whip down and sat on the corner of the wooden bench which served as an operating table. She watched me plunge my knife into the infected breasts, which spurted blood and pus.
"I happened to look up and encountered the most horrible sight I have ever seen, the memory of which will haunt me for the rest of my life. Irma Grese was enjoying the sight of this human suffering. Her tense body swung back and forth in a revealing, rhythmical motion. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes wide open, eyes that had the rigid staring look of a complete sexual paroxysm."
From that moment on, Irma Grese wandered through the women's section at Auschwitz, looking for the most beautiful inmates. She would slash open their breasts with her whip. Later, when the breasts became infected and the prisoners taken to the infirmary, Grese would sit in on the operations. Often, in her excitement, she drooled.
She and Dr. Mengele made a handsome couple at the selection parades, where candidates were chosen for the gas chambers. Sometimes the two lovers held hands. Needless to say, Irma was not faithful to the dedicated (?) Josef—far from it! She had numerous affairs with other men, including the camp commandant—Josef Kramer, the Beast of Belsen. She had affairs with other women! Worst of all, by Nazi standards, she had sexual relations with Jewish inmates of both sexes!
Through a peephole, Olga Lengyel once witnessed a typical Irma Grese orgy. The "blonde angel" had found out about a romance between a pretty Polish girl and a handsome Russian. The two had been taken to Irma Grese's private room.
There they stood, the three of them, naked. Grese made the Polish girl kneel while she beat her on the breasts and face. The beating continued until the Russian agreed to make love to her. After the act was over, Grese had the Russian shot and the girl placed in a brothel.
After the war, Irma Grese was tried as a war criminal and convicted. She was condemned to be hanged and sought a reprieve. "Spare my life and I'll testify against Dr. Mengele," she screamed.
What happened to Dr. Josef Mengele? In the last days of the war, this madman was hiding out from two fates—capture by the Allies and transfer by the Germans. S.S. men, particularly physicians, were being rushed to the front. To avoid being sent into battle, the good doctor suddenly noticed that typhus was raging in Auschwitz. He declared a state of emergency and persuaded his superiors to leave him there until he could vaccinate all the inmates.
The war ended and Dr. Mengele fled. For a time he was a patient in a British military hospital, suffering from a "nervous disorder." Then he was discharged. Little attention was paid to a low-ranking S.S. lieutenant. The allies were seeking the known war criminals; even Eichmann was unknown at this stage of the game.
By the time Mengele's crimes were known, he had gone underground. It is known that he was stopped several times during routine checks, but his papers (all forged) enabled him" to avoid capture. Eventually he went to Spain and then moved on to Argentina.
For more than a decade, Josef Mengele enjoyed high-level protection in Argentina, a country which has long been noted for its Fascist leanings. For a time, Mengele lived quite openly, practicing medicine in the Vicente Lopez suburb of Buenos Aires, where he specialized in venereal disease and abortion.
In 1959, a court in Freiburg, Germany, issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of "mass murder." Witnesses came from Israel to tell of his horrible crimes. The Secretariat of the International Auschwitz Committee sent evidence to be used against him, and an extradition warrant was issued. But Argentina did nothing!
Came 1960, however, and Argentina suffered from an international red face when Adolf Eichmann was captured by agents from Israel. Fearing for his life. Dr. Mengele again went underground. This time it is said that he resorted to plastic surgery and grew a large mustache. That summer the Argentine government finally agreed to hand over Mengele to German authorities. But . . . the "Angel of Death" could not be found.
In 1962, a Stockholm newspaper published a report by a merchant named Harald Goelzner, who at one time had deserted from the German Army. Goelzner said that while traveling in South America he had met Dr. Mengele, who at the time was giving medical lectures. Goelzner's report was termed "promising" by some investigators, but the German Federal Justice Department later said that further investigation was "without results."
In March of 1962, Mengele was sighted in Brazil, but the Chief of Police in Sao Paulo said his whereabouts could not be traced.
In April of 1962, Paris-Presse reported that Israeli secret agents had seized Mengele in Buenos Aires and had taken him to the port of Ensenada, where he was put aboard a Panamanian freighter bound for Israel. But the report was false.
The search continues. Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organization) and the Israelis are often reported to be close on the trail of Dr. Mengele. The Americans, the Russians and the French are seeking the mass murderer. The Buenos Aires Provincial Police and the Argentine Federal Intelligence Service are "fast on his trail"—which is not saying very much . . .
Actually no one knows the whereabouts of Dr. Josef Mengele, the chief physician of Auschwitz concentration camp. He might even be in the United States. One thing is certain: his enemies are world wide. Olga Lengyel has written: "How we hated this charlatan! He profaned the very word 'science.' How we despised his detached, haughty air, his continual whistling, his absurd orders, his frigid cruelty."
It is possible that as Dr. Mengele wanders silently about in freedom, his compulsive whistling may give him away. Also, the Israeli hunters are no longer concerned about bringing him back alive. Mengele sent millions to their deaths, and it is possible that his next confrontation with a Jew might mean instant death, the end,